Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

dealing with an unmedicated bipolar spouse

Community Member

Hi All

I'm new here and would like some advice on how to deal with my partner of 30 years with bipolar.

I have BPD but I'm currently on anxiety medication and quite happy to see a therapist again but he wont let me, he's an extremely private person and because he has been abusive to me I feel he doesnt want that brought up but he says that therapy only feeds the BPD mind and its no good for me - thats another issue.

Currently I have an issue where I hit rock bottom, having dramas at home and work. I have no family (disowned them due to childhood abuse) and have found my way out of the darkness and then it starts again. I cant say exactly what was said if he knew I was posting - well he wouldnt be happy about that! Basically things have been good ok for a few weeks and yesterday I stuffed up. I brought up something that he has told me prior not to as it triggers him so I realise it was my fault there. I dont know why I brought it up was just an automatic thing. I apologised as soon as I did it but it just made things worse. Now he is constantly putting words in my mouth saying by what I said means that I hate him etc and I never compliment him on his looks (which is true) and only bring negative things to his attention about him. So now I'm getting a rant of how ugly I am, how fat I am, I must be the fattest person around, anything cutting and cruel he can say. I am handling it better than I used to due to increase in meds probably but I'm worried about going home tonight after work. As I left this morning he was just yelling vile and hurtful things to me - I dont respond at all which is really hard for me with BPD. Sometimes that works for me and sometimes its like he will keep going until he pushes me beyond my limit and I crack and then he will have go off about that. Its like he needs to get it out of his system and I dont know if this is coincidence but it happens monthly. Often I think "wow" is it a full moon and no its always half and it happens at this time every month just about. I dont know if its me as he blames everything on my BPD since I was diagnosed and his issues have faded into the distance and when I do bring them us he gets extremely angry and abusive so I dont bring it up anymore for my own safety basically. I know you will probably say I should leave but I do know that my issues have caused some of this but not all of it.

How do you handle someone who is in a rage and doesnt let me walk out the room to calm down?

11 Replies 11

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hello changeisneeded, what an apt choice for a name! It does sound like changes need to be made. It's very concerning to read that you fear for your own safety. You also describe some controlling behaviours as well.

From what you have written, I don't think the bipolar (is he actually diagnosed?) is an issue. You are describing abusive behaviour, and that has nothing to do with mental illness. Abuse is abuse.

Screaming matches are never productive, leaving the room (or the house) for a time out I have found is the best course of action... but you say he is not LETTING you? Does he physically restrain you or block your path?

So to recap, you have described a spouse who...

* Prevents you from seeing a therapist when you would like to

* Would probably be upset about you posting on a forum

* Verbally abuses you

* Makes you feel physically unsafe

What are you getting out of this relationship? Are there any positives?

The problem is when he isnt like this is is so caring, funny and good to be around so its like dealing with 2 different people. I dont suggest that I'm a walk in the park but I have never abused him, called him names and insults because from my early childhood I had all that thrown at me and I know how hurtful it is. He has said at times that its because he feels like he is losing control and cant cope. I have been told previously the same thing to leave but I guess I'm not in a financial situation to do so and dont really know if I want to. I know I have abandonment issues which are at play here but I guess I keep hoping for things to change yes my username precisely. I know you say its not Bipolar but abuse but it seems everywhere I look on bipolar sites this seems to be one of the issues. Its like he changes to this thing with a crazed look in his eye and no logic comes into it his rants and it seems to be happening every month?

Sorry forgot to mention about 25 years ago he was diagnosed in those days manic depression, he had therapy and was on meds but in those days they were very harsh so he didnt want to go back on them. Also and I dont quite believe this with manic depression/ bipolar, a GP apparently said that its great he is coping without meds and obviously doesn't need it? I thought manic depression/ bipolar was due to a chemical inbalance and therefore needed meds to keep moods regulated?

I'm not an expert on bipolar but there are others here who know. There are also some discussions down in the carers section from people with bipolar spouses that might be able to give you some tips too.

What I meant by the 'it's not bipolar it's abuse' was more that I don't think a diagnosis makes any difference to you being in a place where you are not safe emotionally, and perhaps physically. I would say putting yourself first should be a priority. That doesn't mean leave your husband necessarily, but it might mean having a very frank discussion about what you will and won't accept in the relationship. If you are staying in the relationship mainly because you are frightened of being alone, then I am worried that you will look for any excuse to stay, and being able to rationalise abusive behaviour as "oh it's not him really, it's the bipolar" is a way of remaining stuck where you are.

Hi changeisneeded. Your hubby definitely has some sort of MI. He sounds similar to my previous (now passed) spouse. My previous spouse was taking AD's, but he did not respond favourably either. He was not monitored, he would simply get further repeats of the same AD's (which, I might add) seem to 'stop working'. I was receiving similar treatment to you, I was also frequently accused of 'playing up' with other men. With any sort of depression, while there are many debates as to whether the illness is 'inherited' or something that happens to some and not others, there is no clear, defined answer. Chemical imbalances appear to be the main catalyst, but, again, this has not really been proved, beyond doubt. It could be his illness has been inherited, it could be an 'imbalance'. His Dr is only able to determine his condition based on what your hubby is telling him. For instance, if your hubby is claiming all is well with his world, his Dr has no choice but to believe him. Perhaps a visit to the Dr by you might be of some assistance. Explain to the Dr the way your hubby is behaving. While the Dr will initially be hesitant in seeing you (Dr, patient confidentiality) try, without becoming frustrated, to carefully and slowly explain your hubby's behaviour pattern. The Dr may be able to give you some guidance, he may advise hubby to come and see him. I would also advise the Dr you are slightly worried about hubby's reaction to you seeing the Dr.


Thanks Jess and Pipsy

I tried long ago getting my doctor to contact his not sure if she did or not as I dont see her anymore and I dont think my partner has a regular doctor. He tells them he is fine so they dont know any better, in his head everything is all my fault because I have BPD and he wont acknowledge his issues at all. So I guess when I go home tonight I will just play it safe, not initiate talking until he does and keep to myself. I just dont how to get him to admit it. Still a bit worried as the day goes by in going home, I walked out with him ranting at me and I did say in a calm voice "do you think this behavior helps the situation" which has probably just stirred him up more and because he keeps himself isolated but blames on me he wont get to talk to anyone for another perspective.

Hi changeisneeded. You sound as though you've given up. Understandable if you feel you're banging your head etc. With my previous spouse, I eventually left as I couldn't take any more. We were married 7 or 8 years. You are the only one who can change this situation, he refuses because, as you said, he blames you. With MI one of the most easiest ways of dealing with it is to blame others instead of accepting you have the problem. As I mentioned, my previous spouse blamed me for trying to do anything to improve myself. If I wanted to do any sort of self-improvement course, it was because I was 'looking around'. Does your partner display violence, for instance has he threatened to hurt you. If this is the case, you need to protect yourself as once he starts hurting you physically, the police could be summoned. I can't tell you whether to leave or stay, that is your call. All I can say is you need to decide for yourself if this 'relationship' is what you want or if you feel you are wasting your time by remaining with someone who has no regard for you. You mentioned in a previous post he was like 'two' people at times. Perhaps when everything in his world is 'rosy', he is too. In other words everything has to be 'his way or the highway'.


Thanks Pipsy

Yes you could be right my way or the highway. Yes he has displayed violence in the past but now he says horrible things like he wishes I was dead. I'm think I know down deep inside that things wont change but I have been with him over 30years so its hard to just walk out. I dont know, all I know is that I dont want this life and this crap I dont know how much more of it I can take but at the same time I dont know if I can leave (dont know if I'm strong enough as have no support network and no friends and no family) so I would have to do this all alone and right now I dont know if I have the want or the strength! It also starts to make me question my sanity and how much is to do with my BPD and if infact it is all my fault. Im very mixed up. Need to go now and go home very nervous of what I will encounter.

Thanks for you support !

Thanks Pipsy

Things are not good when I got home yesterday he just yelled and screamed at me for about an hour, I didnt say much which I think aggravated him more. I'm very tired and sick of this, every time this happens I go through a "punishment" stage where he will punish me in one way or another and this is happening now. I think it gives him a sense of control because again he has said he feels he has no control over his life with me. At the moment I know I cant leave due to finances and to be honest I dont think I would have the strength because I know I would need to call in police or something as he will really freak. I'm just so sick of this and feeling this way, I know at leasat 50% is my fault due to BPD but just feel very lost at the moment.

Thanks for you advice I do appreciate it!